The old world charm of Rajasthan,its heritage and royalty have always been intrinsic to designer Raghavendra Rathores folio of work. That it is his forte neednt be reiterated. Having stayed away from the fashion weeks for almost four years now,his return to the ramp as part of the ongoing Amby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week (IBFW) in Delhi was much awaited. The IBFW will see us usher a new hemisphere of the Raghavendra Rathore brand where we will be showcasing the softer side of our menswear and also launch the womenswear red carpet line,which will have an international feel, said Rathore,prior to the show on Thursday evening.
Those words couldnt have been truer. The gurgling miniature fountains (in the centre of the ramp) and haveli-like arches set the backdrop to a royal rendezvous that saw Rathore present the classic styles in a new (fun) way. Channelling the spirit of the glory days of the Raj,the designer wanted to reinvent the revelry and exuberance of the 1920s,calling it the era known for unprecedented economic prosperity. The Jodhpuri bandhgala has been a true ambassador of the Rathore label and it saw a reinterpretation in this bridal week collection. For one,the bride now gets to wear the bandhgala and Rathore presented many avatars (and colours) of it in the show. A heavily embroidered bandhgala worn over the sari,even a bolero style,showed that the designer was looking to highlight a new side to the label and not just what was expected of him. The uniqueness about the Jodhpuri bandhgala is not just its originality but versatility too. It has been worn over a century by aristocracy and has now become a hallmark for a modern,sophisticated Asian style. For me,it revives the true legacy of our heritage with a classy slant,transcending the borders of time,to be equally,if not more relevant in the modern world, said Rathore.
Speaking of modern,the collection also saw an interesting use of silhouettes in the womenswear line such as floor-length kaftans,dresses with thigh-high slits,and embroidered jackets teamed with pencil pants and gowns. The contemporary leanings were ably fused with traditional zardozi and thread embroidery on fabrics such as velvet and silk. But,Rathores expertise with dressing up men in perfect fits remains unmatched. He infused dollops of colour with an all-scarlet suit in silk and fuchsia kurta worn under a sleeveless bandhgala,worn by male models. The colour palette also had midnight blue,wine,saffron,gold and silver.
Has wedding wear changed for the Indian bride and groom over the years? Wedding wear might have gone through some changes but what it has always retained is the core element of Indianness. This is something that we have held on to for generations and it will always stay, said Rathore. He believes that for formal occasions,the original Jodhpuri bandhgala has always been in vogue and should be part of every individuals wardrobe. It has been an inspiration to many international brands and we take pride in pushing it on the international runways, said Rathore,who is carrying forward the grandeur of Indian regalia to other aspects of design. Uniforms,elegant software products,jewellery and interiors are the new areas that we have ventured into, said Rathore,who got actor Anil Kapoor to close the show for him on Thursday.